Function and Distortion of Time

Isabella Agostino

Student Engagement Activity



  • Past and present (living and dead)
  • Past events incorporated into present ones, shows importance of past
  • Characters are "living in their past" (what does that say about them?)
  • No linear time
  • Each present conversation followed by past memory (what does that say about their future?)


(Don't go in order)

"You'll hear me better there. I'll be closer to you. You will hear the voice of my memories stronger than the voice of my death-that is, if death ever had a voice." (Rulfo 8)

"Then it must be my sixth sense. A gift god gave me-or maybe a curse. All I know is that I gave suffered because of it." (Rulfo 21)

"Me, with all my fifty years? Look at him, just beginning to live, and me only a few steps from my grave." (Rulfo 40)

"But I think the day will come when these sounds fade away." (Rulfo 41)

"I thought that if I went back I might find the warmth I left behind but I realized the cold was coming from me." (Rulfo 59)

"The rain deadens sound. It can be heard when all other sound is stilled...spinning the thread of life." (Rulfo 88)

"All you care about is souls. And what I want is his body." (Rulfo 100)


Reverie by Richard Young

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Lit Crit

A Wrinkle in Time: Time as Structure and Meaning in "Pedro Páramo"

Deborah Cohn

"Rulfo's successful creation of a sense of timelessness" (Cohn, 257)

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Take Away

  • Distortion of time serves to portray the loss of hope as the tone for the book
  • Gives insight to historical context, where does Mexico go from here?
  • Map of the mind: how we approach each "new" situation
  • If we do the same thing on earth as they do in Purgatory, what does that say about our lives?


1. Is time waiting in you? Do you believe in fate? Explain.

2. To what extent is Juan subject to his father's lost soul that characterizes Comala?

3. Why is looking in our pasts an act of getting away from our present? Why not go to the future?

4. What constitutes the present of our minds if we are shaped by what we know (being something of the past)?

5. What does Susana's death show us about Pedro Paramo?


A Wrinkle in Time: Time as Structure and Meaning in "Pedro Páramo"

Deborah Cohn

Revista Hispánica Moderna, Año 49, No. 2, Homenaje a Susana Redondo de Feldman (Dec., 1996), pp. 256-266

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Article Stable URL:

Rulfo, Juan, and Margaret Sayers Peden.Pedro Páramo. New York: Grove, 1994. Print.